Six months later, police still searching for hit-and-run driver in fatal Athens collision


By Joe Johnson

After months of unsuccessfully searching, Athens-Clarke County police this week issued another plea for public assistance in locating the hit-and-run driver in a fatal crash six months ago on the west side of the county.

Juan Manuel Romero Garrido, 40, of Athens, allegedly was driving a 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe on Tallassee Road on Feb. 2 when the vehicle crossed the center line between Christa Drive and Ramble Hills Drive, striking head-on a 1997 Jeep Wrangler driven by 50-year-old Christopher Scottie Nix of Jefferson, who died at the scene.

Garrido and two occupants in Nix’s Jeep – the victim’s wife and 9-year-old son – were extricated from the vehicle and were taken to the hospital in serious condition.

Christopher Scottie Nix

Garrido was taken to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center in serious condition, according to police.

A subsequent investigation resulted in warrants being issued for Garrido on charges of first-degree homicide by vehicle, serious injury by vehicle, DUI, failure to maintain lane and driving without a valid license, police said.

Lt. Shaun Barnett, public information officer for ACCPD, said he was unsure of when Garrido was released from the hospital or when the arrest warrants were issued.

However, he said police have been unable to locate Garrido and that information about the warrants were made public in

June with the hopes the public can assist in locating him.

On Thursday, police posted on their Facebook page a reiteration of their need for the public's assistance.

“Attempts to locate him have been unsuccessful. If contact is made, or if you have any information about where Garrido may be located, please contact Sgt. Wood @ (762)400-7087 michael.wood@accgov.com or Lt. McIlvaine @ (762)400-7089 jonathan.mcilvaine@accgov.com,”police said in the post.

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